Abbott Labs Lawsuits: Latest Suit Adds to Growing Number of Baby Formula Cases

A cow’s-milk based infant formula may be responsible for the injuries and wrongful deaths of many premature infants, according to a rising number of lawsuits. The latest lawsuit filed by Martina Moye against Abbott Laboratories says that the Similac formula fed to her premature newborn led to the child’s death from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Studies show that cow’s-milk based formulas may put infants at a greater risk of developing NEC. 

Ms. Moye joins a mass tort in Northern Illinois that is working to hold several manufacturers responsible, including Abbott Laboratories. MDL 3026 in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois currently includes over one hundred lawsuits, including Moye’s case. 

Lawsuits Point to Dangers of Cow’s Milk Formula for Preemies

The Similac formula from Abbott Laboratories is a cow’s milk formula. This formula can be difficult for some premature infants to digest, especially with underdeveloped immune and digestive systems. Enfamil formula, a cow’s milk formula from Mead Johnson, can also have similar effects. Studies show that dairy formula can cause digestive inflammation, especially in preemies, although the reasons for this remain unclear. This can lead the baby to develop NEC. (National Institutes of Health)

Necrotizing enterocolitis happens when bacteria leak through the newborn’s intestinal walls and cause serious levels of inflammation, which can eventually lead to sepsis. Between 25 – 50% of infants with this condition will pass away. (Advances in Nutrition) Research cited in Ms. Moye’s lawsuit says that NEC is up to ten times more common in infants who receive cow’s milk formula. (Martina Moye vs. Abbott Laboratories)

NEC Can Lead to Other Serious Complications

When infants survive NEC, they may go on to face many complications. Other health problems an infant with NEC may face include:

  • Intestinal stricture
  • Abdominal infections 
  • Short gut syndrome
  • Development delays
  • Growth failure

These complications can not only leave infants with long-lasting challenges, but they can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for families to treat immediately after birth. Babies with NEC may require surgery, IV fluids, a nasogastric tube, antibiotics, and extended hospitalization. (Cleveland Clinic)

Formula Makers Knew of the Risks to Infants

The lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories and other manufacturers say that these companies were aware of the risks of cow’s milk formula for infants and that they knew premature newborns would receive this formula. However, Abbott Laboratories and others sold and marketed these products as safe for premature babies. 

As a result, plaintiffs are looking to hold formula makers responsible for their damages, including the wrongful death of their newborns. Many of these lawsuits from across the country have been consolidated into MDL 3026 in Northern Illinois. 

Bellwether trials are now being organized in the case. Bellwether trials are the first trials to take place in a mass tort. Typically, the success of these first cases indicates the potential outcome of all other lawsuits in the MDL. A product liability lawsuit lawyer can help plaintiffs with the process and help them understand what to expect. 

You Can Get Legal Help for an Infant Formula Lawsuit

If your family faced health problems with a premature newborn or lost a child to NEC due to a cow’s milk formula, you could seek justice and compensation. Fill out this contact form to connect with a mass torts lawyer in our network.